Yet, while this work now comes under the auspices of Steve Walker after the Leeds City Council director was made Children’s Services Commissioner for Bradford, such a stance neglects the suffering of CSE and grooming victims that Ann Cryer, the then MP for Keighley, was highlighting over 20 years ago.
Given the suffering that victims still endure, many of whom have suffered in silence for too long, Bradford needs to instigate its own ‘lessons learned’ inquiry. The benefits are significant – it will offer some solace to the abused, help the council shape future policies and, hopefully, give confidence to all victims of sexual violence to come forward.
However this will not occur if Bradford’s chief executive Kersten England and council leader Susan Hinchcliffe, two experienced individuals, do not respond more robustly to the very serious criticisms made against them in the Commons.
And, while it is for Bradford’s three Labour MPs to justify their non-participation, let them – and Bradford Council – be left in no doubt about the strength of Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing’s closing remarks: “That was a powerful debate. The whole House clearly wants action to occur now. It is not often that we are all in such agreement.”
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